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  1. Cyrano
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    Cyrano Member

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    Character names Issue

    Discussion in 'Character Development' started by Cyrano, Sep 28, 2009.

    I want to give the protagonist a certain first name because of it's meaning. However, it's also my first name. I worry about readers/editors thinking I am trying to put myself in the story. On the other hand, I'm thinking that if the character really is different from me, the reader/editor will pay no heed. But then again, the reader/editor doesn't know me. Any thoughts?
     
  2. thirdwind
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    thirdwind Contributing Member Contest Administrator Reviewer Contributor

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    It doesn't matter if your character has the same name as you. The reader should understand that there is a distinction between you and your character. Since this is a work of fiction, readers will (hopefully) know that the writer is not the main character. The same applies to editors/publishers. If you are really concerned about it, then change your character's name.
     
  3. luckyprophet
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    luckyprophet Member

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    You're thinking too much.~
     
  4. Spirit
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    Spirit Member

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    If you are that worried about it, consider using a pen name.

    while on the subject of pen names, Garth Nix cannot possibly be his real name....can it?
     
  5. Cyrano
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    Cyrano Member

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    In Pride and Prejudice, one of the daughters was named Jane. Right in the beginning, I was thinking author insertion, but by the end of the book, it didn't even cross my mind anymore. I guess it didn't bother me much because the character wasn't a Mary Sue. My hope is that if the character is real enough, it won't be an issue. I've also been considering a pen name for a while now, my last name is a funny sounding/spelled polish one :)
     
  6. Pallas
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    Pallas Contributing Member Contributor

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    You are probably are correct in thinking that the initial reaction will be author insertion, but as a well written story progresses with meaningful characters, that initial though will be long gone. I would think it not an issue. Good luck.
     
  7. Rei
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    Rei Contributing Member Contributor

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    I'm with luckyprophet on this one. It's something many writers are cursed with.
     
  8. B-Gas
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    B-Gas Contributing Member

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    You've been taking too many Mary Sue Litmus tests.

    If the name-sharing bothers you, or, more importantly, if it affects how you treat the character in the story- would you let a sadistic, evil villain saw this character's leg off?- then change it to something different. If it doesn't, then don't. Names aren't nearly as big a deal as people think.

    If the name is chosen for historical reasons or for its "meaning," that doesn't affect anything. Change it if you don't like it, keep it if you do, and don't think about publishing until after the story is completed.
     
  9. Twisted Inversely
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    Twisted Inversely Senior Member

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    I'd probably say no, don't use your first name for your main character and especially don't use your first and last name. I think it come off as a bit self indulgent and can give the impression that the story your writing is a piece of personal wish fulfillment.

    If you do not wish to heed my advice at least make the character different to yourself; do not under any circumstances do a Stephen King.
     
  10. Mr What
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    Mr What Member

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    If you're that worried about it, find another name with the same meaning or just give your protagonist another name entirely.
     
  11. afinemess
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    afinemess Active Member

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    There are a thousand baby name websites, and some of them, you can type in the name meaning and it will give you a list of all the names that share the meaning. If you want, I'm sure I can dig you one up really quickly. That is if your not too attatched to your specific name. I named my characters and I think if I had to change them now I'd flip out, so I understand, but if your worried about assumptions in comparision with your own name, then I'd just do like I said and find one that shares it's meaning. (for example, my characters last name means 'warrior', there are a gazillion names that mean warrior)
     
  12. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    i have to buck the majority here and agree strongly with twisted... it would sound self-indulgent to the max, to agents and publishers, imo, as it would to me...
     
  13. AmandaC
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    AmandaC Member

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    Jane Austen wrote several characters named Jane. Do what feels right.
     
  14. SilverWolf0101
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    SilverWolf0101 Active Member

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    If you feel as if you have to use your own name, then choose an alternate spelling to the name. I have noticed though, that as a reader, an author who uses their own name in a story tends to loose the main purpose of the character sharing their name. So in good favor, I recommend against it.

    As for your pen name, I strongly advise it. I once spoke with a poetry author in middle school about pen names vs. real names. One of the things they told me is this;
    "When it comes to real names, figure this, would you rather have your fans standing outside your house or in a store always waiting for you? Or would you rather live behind the lie of some paper name and live in peace as night falls?"

    Hope this helps you some.
     
  15. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    there are some good reasons for using a pen name... if you don't have one, don't use one...
     

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